Britain’s pubs may be weeks away from officially reopening after the coronavirus lockdown, but smart-thinking landlords are finding ways around the rules to serve up pints to thirsty punters.
Over the weekend Brighton saw long queues of visitors queuing up for a pint, nearly two months after pubs and bars were closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
But with lockdown measures eased, businesses are serving up drinks by serving them either in takeaway cups or in outdoor areas – just in time for hottest day of the year so far.
Actor Laurence Fox is among the Brits to take advantage of the loophole, he was spotted nursing a pint in Primrose Hill, London, on Monday.
Actor Laurence Fox enjoyed a takeaway pint in Primrose Hill, London on Monday as landlords find ways around lockdown rules
Visitors to Brighton beach are among thousands across the country taking advantage of takeaway pints during this week’s heatwave
The Old King’s Head in Shoreditch is serving up takeaway pints to thirsty customers today
Visitors along Brighton beach can be seen carrying pints in plastic cups, while punters were queuing outside the Old King’s Head in Shoreditch on Wednesday afternoon for a drink on the hottest day of the year – with temperatures reaching 82F.
The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the hospitality industry after weeks of lockdown caused sales to plummet and left many businesses facing uncertain futures.
Today UKHospitality, the trade body for the industry, has submitted a 75-page dossier that sets out a roadmap to getting restaurants and pubs open on July 4, that includes ditching the hotel buffet and no more drinkers at the bar.
The dossier has been submitted to ministers, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Boris Johnson revealed his lockdown blue-print last Sunday after Brits spent weeks under draconian lockdown measures on imposed by the PM on March 23.
The Prime Minister has urged people to return to work and hoped that from June 1 schools and shops would reopen.
He also said it’s his ‘ambition’ to start opening some hospitality businesses on July 4, as the PM tries to get the economy kickstarted.
The newly-released draft plans give a glimpse of how restaurants, bars and other leisure facilities will operate as the country eases out of lockdown, and offers suggestions for how they can operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
The industry has been devastated by the health crisis, with sales plummeting and many businesses still unsure if reopening with social distancing rules will be financially viable.
If pub gardens are open to take advantage of the summer weather, then patrols may have to take place to ensure big groups don’t congregate and social distancing is being kept.
Takeaway pints are the best Brighton punters can get today, but the hospitality industry hopes pubs and restaurants will be open with new social distancing measures on July 4
There were long queues for a beer in Brighton on Sunday
Rather than being able to grab hold of a bottle of ketchup or mustard, individually wrapped condiments will be encouraged instead.
Any use of a menu should be limited and cleaned after use by a member of staff.
The dossier released today explained how drinkers will be discouraged from queuing up at bars, with table service encouraged instead.
Tape on the floor will indicate social distancing guidelines.
Other options that pubs could consider is getting customers to order from one till and then collecting drinks at a separate pick up point.
When leaving the pub or getting another drink many people will take their empty glasses back to the bar so staff don’t have to come and collect them.
As the R rate falls, more businesses will be able to reopen, Boris Johnson explained on May 10
But the document says that glasses should now be collected by staff.
Pubs will also have to put in place a plan for toilets to ensure they don’t become overcrowded.
Easing lockdown measures earlier this month, Mr Johnson said some parts of the hospitality industry could reopen by July ‘at the earliest,’ if coronavirus infection rates declined to a safe level.
The PM said on May 10: ‘If and only if the numbers support it, we will hope to reopen at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing.’
Premises have been allowed to operate take-away services during the lockdown in an attempt to keep businesses afloat.
A Whitehall source told The Telegraph that adopting outdoor business could mean a ‘more vibrant style of continental town centres in the summer’.
Professor Alan Penn, a member of SAGE, the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, reassured that those venturing outdoors that the risk of catching the virus outside is lower.
He said: ‘The science suggests that being outside in sunlight, with good ventilation, are both highly protective against transmission of the virus.’
Landlords at pubs, including The Gate House in Highgate, have found creative ways to keep serving locals as lockdown measures start to ease
Other scientists say they ‘totally agree’ with Professor Penn and advocate spending more time outdoors, where the virus is less likely to survive.
Earlier today it was revealed up to 1,500 English primary schools are now expected to remain closed in 12 days’ time despite millions of children being at home for more than eight weeks.
At least 13 mainly Labour councils have refused to reopen schools on June 1, a date Boris Johnson set for some pupils to return after weeks in lockdown.
Justice Minister Robert Buckland admitted this morning that the June 1 reopening date may now not be ‘uniform’ across England – as the Prime Minister’s pledge descended into chaos amid mass dissension from school staff, unions and local councils.
Mr Buckland told the BBC: ‘I don’t think any of us want to put either children or our dedicated teaching staff in any danger at all, and the question of being safe is clearly paramount.
‘So we’re all working towards June 1 and planning for that return, but I accept the point that there may well be issues from employers that need to be addressed which might not mean we’ll see a uniform approach on June 1.’